Associations commenting on the Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan – Part 2: German Freight Forwarding and Logistics Association (DSLV – Deutscher Speditions- und Logistikverband) The 21st of March 2016 was an important date for the future of the German logistics sector. It was on that day that Federal Minister of Transport Alexander Dobrindt introduced the draft bill for the Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan 2030. Thus, the infrastructure planning policy for the next 14 years is now on the table. But how do Germany’s logistics experts evaluate the decisions, and what expectations do they have of the current discussion phase? Freight Connections spoke with two leading representatives of the German logistics industry. Today: Matthias Krage, President of the German Freight Forwarding and Logistics Association (DSLV – Deutscher Speditions- und Logistikverband).
What is your overall impression of the draft version of the Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan (BVWP) 2030?
We believe the Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan 2030 has turned out rather well. What is positive is the transparency of the process and the move away from a strong proportional representation of the federal states. By actually focusing on the removal of bottlenecks in the entire transport network, the BVWP is emphasizing important aspects. However, if these objectives are to be achieved, the appropriate financing of transport infrastructure has to be ensured in the long run. It does not say where the additional funds are to come from.
Do you think the relationship between maintenance and development of existing structures and the planning of new roads is appropriate?
Given the increasing loss of substance in all forms of transport, it is generally understandable that the focus is placed on preservation. However, the principle of “preservation before upgrading and new construction” cannot be a permanent option. Due to the projected growth of freight transport alone, the federal government has to spend noticeably more money on construction in the long run.
Even some of the priority projects in the last Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan were not realized. Is the federal government too ambitious or German planning law too rigid?
The planning is quite ambitious when it comes to the projects with priority needs. These are very important for the overall network and must be finished on time. For this to happen, the order management process must be reformed, as the performances of the individual state construction administrations can vary greatly and the increased means will otherwise not all be used up. Given the development of building prices, it is regrettable that the BVWP does not contain an inflation buffer.
How do you assess the weighting in the plan between the various modes of transport?
A total of 94.7 billion Euros are available in the Federal Transport Infrastructure Plan for development and construction. When it comes to weighting, the traffic performance as well as sustainability considerations played a role. Roads account for about 52 percent, railways for 42 per cent and five per cent are attributable to waterways. This is where the mobility goals seem to have been less important than the environmental goals, to the detriment of the road network, which provides about 70 percent of transport capacity. On the other hand, there is a danger that taking on further road-building projects as priority needs could cause the implementation of the ambitious plans to become even more difficult.
Does infrastructure expansion require additional resources and if so, who should raise them – taxpayers or users?
German transport infrastructure needs permanently more funds in the long term. This is primarily a task of the state. Alongside that, user financing by all road users is conceivable, if the collected taxes flow back into the infrastructure again in a closed cycle.